Back to School?

Back to School: Yippee – Oh No
Simple Ways That Mindfulness Can Help,
by Maura FoxMauraFox2016

The air is changing and the days are getting shorter. We all know what that means. It’s time to go back to school. Maybe your child is going to pre-school, kindergarten, college or anywhere in between, and your emotions can shift all over the map. On one hand, you may be excited that you can get back to a routine–the big calendar showing where everyone is to be and when. On the other hand, it can be overwhelming and exhausting. The first few days are often filled with endless forms that need to be completed with the same information from the last 5 years, signing permissions for internet and photo releases and then the endless list of supplies, “No, it has to be a RED NOTEBOOK, the teacher said so.” How about the not so obvious emotions: fear, helplessness, loneliness, worry? We send our children off with the hope that they will be cared for and nurtured throughout their day.

I remember putting my daughter on the bus on the first day of 5th grade, the last year of elementary school. No big deal, I went to work. On the way the song Runaway Train, by Soul Asylum was playing and I started to cry. The only thing I heard was “runaway train never going back…” There she was, my little 5th grader, her last year in elementary school, next year its off to middle school then high school, college, marriage, children. We laugh about it now, but at the time I did not know about mindfulness and living in the present moment non-judgmentally. I had her all grown up and leaving me for good. Notice that– leaving “me.” It was all about me back then, but that’s a story for another time.

Jon-Kabat Zinn, Professor of Medicine and creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, defines mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”. Mindfulness is a practice that allows us to let go of worry and release ourselves from judgment. It is an in-the-moment awareness and acceptance of thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness is good for us. It allows us to be present in our parenting, choosing our response instead of having a knee-jerk reaction. We all want the same thing for our children, to be happy, healthy and successful in everything they do. As another school year begins here are some things you can try to create calmness in your life and help you connect to your children.

-Self-Compassion: Identify and acknowledge any feelings/emotions that arise without judgment.
-Recognize that things are temporary.
-Focus on your breath. Stop, take a breath, observe and then proceed. Taking this short pause, even for 10 seconds, is the best tool for calming the body and allowing us space to choose how we respond in any given situation.
-Breathing Buddy: Have your child use their favorite stuffed toy. Have your child lie down on their back and place the breathing buddy on their belly.  The breathing buddy will rise and fall with with each breath. You can count to three on the inhale and back down on the exhale to encourage slow breathing.
-Be present. The most important thing our children want from us is our attention. Put down the cell phone, turn off the TV, stop what you are doing, and just be with your child. Listen to what your child has to say with your undivided attention.

Above all, remember that we do the best we can each day with the knowledge that we have. The focus of mindfulness is to bring awareness to aspects of our daily lives so we can make decisions that minimize stress and create greater balance in our lives and the lives of our children. It takes courage, effort and patience but by developing a mindfulness practice we can continue to grow along with our children.

Maura Fox has been in the field of education for over 30 years. She has experience with students on the autism spectrum, emotional/behavioral, ADHD and executive function disorders as well as language/learning/ reading disabilities. As a Certified Mindfulness Educator, she has taught mindfulness to school students K-12, and educators, parents and adults wanting to learn a different way of being. See her November 17th One big roof workshop on our cAlendar.

The Four Immeasurables

From the Desk of Pierre Zimmerman, MS
THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES OR GATELESS GATES

Bee-image

I wanted to share with you four intentions that are part of lay Buddhist practice to better be connected with others and share our deepest humanity. During the summer we tend to gather and visit friends, families and acquaintances and these intentions always come in handy in small or large groups.
Loving kindness is love with no strings attached or any particular agenda, just the pure, innocent wish for others and oneself to be content.
Compassion is the highest spiritual ideal of wishing other sentient beings to be free from suffering. The Tibetan word for compassion means “king of hearts.”
Sympathetic joy is experiencing happiness for someone else’s contentment, well being, successes and good fortune.
Equanimity is staying calm and centered, no matter what life throws at us; pleasure and pain, success and failure, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. It lets us relate in a deep way with friends, relatives and strangers.
Each of the four immeasurable has an opposite:
For loving kindness it is ill will or harmful intent,
For compassion it is cruelty,
For sympathetic joy it is envy or jealousy, and
For equanimity it is greed, aversion, prejudice.
Setting these four intentions sustains our energy and purpose to live in alignment with our best aspirations and wishes for ourselves and others. May it be so!
PIERRE ZIMMERMAN IS DIRECTOR OF ONE BIG ROOF AND AN INSTRUCTOR WITH THE SARATOGA STRESS REDUCTION PROGRAM.

Hiroshima Day 71st Commemoration Ceremony

Grafton Peace Pagoda Saturday August 6, 2016

Hiroshima Day
71st Commemoration Ceremony

Everyone is welcome to commit to peace and never again using weapons of mass destruction. Let us come together to create world peace one step at a time. Let us find ways to heal the earth and all beings. We must have no enemies and become the enemy of none.

6:30 PM walk from Grafton Town Square to Peace Pagoda (4.3 miles) Pagoda Pagoda2016HiroshimaDay
8:00 PM Program of Peace

– Ceremonial Lighting of Lanterns
– Interfaith Prayers for Peace
– Musical Offerings
– Speakers/Readings
– Fire Hoop Dance

Rain or shine. Please wear weather-appropriate clothes and bring a flashlight and insect repellant. You may also want a blanket.

Please contact the Peace Pagoda to participate: For more information please call the Grafton Peace Pagoda between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM (518) 658-9301

 

Documentary Trilogy

pathbgPath Documentary Trilogy

This documentary trilogy will educate viewers, shed light on topics of consciousness exploration and investigate the many theories of the soul’s purpose. Our films cover subjects of consciousness, out of body exploration, paranormal encounters, holistic healing, physics and metaphysics. The Path trilogy will introduce metaphysical concepts to the mainstream audience with hard scientific and experiential evidence from our expert panel. The intention behind the films of Path11 Productions is to continue to challenge people to question their beliefs, to raise the vibrational level of consciousness on a large scale and spread the message to as many people as possible that we are all one, we are consciousness. The DVD series will be targeted to the mainstream American audience in order to educate people to consider alternative practices to achieve optimal health, an opportunity to raise their level of consciousness and to implement new ideas of living in this physical world for an overall higher quality of life. Produced by April Hannah and Directed by Michael Habernig.

For more information visit http://www.hannahshealing.com/the-path/

There will be a film screening of “The Path: Evolution” at Saratoga Arts on Tues July 12th at 7pm. Contact them for more information at 518-584-4132.

Empathy, Compassion and Altruism

By Pierre Zimmerman

The word empathy is a translation from the German word Einfuhlung, which refers to “the ability to feel the other from within.” Empathy can be set off by an affective perception of feeling for a person with whom we enter into resonance or by cognitive imagination evoked by the other person’s experience. Emotional resonance usually precedes cognitive resonance and depends on the intensity of our emotions as to whether we can really respond or become reactive instead.

heartTrue empathic concern consists of becoming aware of another’s needs and then feeling a sincere desire to come to his or her aid. It doesn’t involve pity, which is egocentric or condescending, or for that matter emotional contagion, which results in distress or empathy fatigue because we confuse our feelings with that of the other.

Compassion is the capacity to use our heart to relieve the suffering of another and all the possibilities to accomplish this. It includes the realization that ignorance is the fundamental cause of suffering and gives rise to an array of mental obscurations, lack of love, meaning, confidence and absence of a clear compass. Motivation for taking actions for release of suffering counts more than their outcome or results. Compassion doesn’t exclude anything possible to prevent the other from continuing to harm or break the circle of hatred.

Altruism is the motivational state that has the ultimate goal of increasing another’s welfare. It is a willingness to lead a life devoted to the well being of others without the need of ulterior motive. Valuing others and being concerned about their situation are essential. Buddhism defines it as the wish that all beings find happiness and the causes of happiness. In this context, happiness is not just a temporary state of well being, but a way of being that includes, wisdom, inner freedom and strength, as well as an accurate view of reality.

Altruistic love and compassion add joy when perceiving the happiness and good qualities of others as well as impartiality. Rejoicing means that we don’t want others’ qualities and happiness to diminish, but instead to increase and persist. This serves as an antidote to competitiveness, jealousy and envy and is a remedy for depression or despairing views. Impartiality or equanimity doesn’t depend either on our personal attachments or the way others behave towards us. Altruistic love requires courage; fear and insecurity are major obstacles to altruism. We need to develop an inner strength that makes us confident in our inner resources, which help us face the constantly changing circumstances of our lives.

Pierre Zimmerman is Director of One Big Roof and an instructor with the Saratoga Stress Reduction Program.

Grafton Peace Pagoda Flower Festival, 6/12

Grafton Peace Pagoda Flower Festival
Celebrating the Birth of the Buddha
Sunday June 12, 2016 at 11:00AM

-Traditional Buddhist Ceremony
-Ecumenical Prayers
-Speakers
-Music
-Pot Luck Community Lunch

flowerNipponzan Myohoji, Grafton Peace Pagoda
87 Crandall Rd, Petersburgh, NY 12138

For information or to help with ceremony preparation
Please call (518) 658-9301 between 8am and 5pm

FLYER attached below for download.

Flower Festival FLYER 2016

Lunchtime Life Line…

Janet Orzano Reiki Master and Teacher One Roof SaratogaSpecial Offer: Pressed for time? Try this Lunchtime* Life Line: 1/2-hour Reiki sessions with Janet Orzano for $45. You will go directly to the Reiki table and choose to receive Reiki on the front or back of your body. Reiki comes from the Japanese word (Rei) which means “Universal Life” and (Ki) which means “Energy”. And a Reiki session can help ease tension and stress and support the body to facilitate an environment for healing on all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. A great way to recharge for office or family! (*This special is available anytime of day, not just at lunchtime!) Contact Janet today at 581-3180 ext 313.

Let’s Choose Love

By Pierre Zimmerman, M.S.

February usually reminds us of cold days and nights, school vacations to warm far away places for some, stuffy noses and red cheeks for those who stay here, and Valentine’s Day celebrations with roses and delicious chocolate. This winter season so far has missed the mark for whiteouts in our area bringing joy to some and disappointment to others. This heart image-2might change by the end of February, as the weather is just as unpredictable as everything else: the economy, gas prices, job security, health narratives and romantic love. Beacons of certainty are hard to come by.

No matter what change affects us in the short run or long run, how we relate to it always gives us the option to look at things with an open mind and heart. So I say let’s choose love, reigniting the embers of the smoldering fire within us, being kind to ourselves, loving others with all their differences and diversity.

We are hard wired to be kind, and we long for connection and intimate affection. We are born with a strong biological predisposition for caring. Positive emotions like love, joy and playfulness are beneficial to our health and strengthen our immune system because our well being depends on our inner happiness, not just on external things. Our usual menu of worries, frustrations, hopes and fears keep us focused on petty concerns. Selflessness, kind wishes and altruistic acts, large or small are antidotes to loneliness. When we offer non-biased compassion and realize our shared humanity, we too benefit from feeling love and contentment.

 

Pierre Zimmerman is Director of One Big Roof, Center for Mindful Practices and teaches in our Saratoga Stress Reduction Program.

A Mindset for the New Year – by Janet & James Orzano

We have so much gratitude for having had the opportunity to share our spiritual path with you, and we hope that you begin this year with the intention to go deeper into your spiritual life and explore the possibilities that lie before you. That intention can be energized by developing a mindset that focuses on growth and change rather than avoidance and complacency.

We have been working with an amazing book, Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck, PhD, that we highly recommend. It provides a perspective and clarity that can help usher in accelerated growth, personal evolution and revolution.Mindset

The research presented in Mindset documents the effectiveness of a growth state of mind, among many other things. According to this theory, we all come from either a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. A growth mindset leads to exploration, creativity and change, while a fixed mindset keeps us where we are.

The theory presented in this book has illuminated the struggle we all face to make changes on a mind, body, or spiritual level. We hope that you choose a mindset that is grounded in spirit and allows you to share your beautiful gifts with a world that sorely needs them.

Janet Orzano & James Orzano are Reiki Master Practitioners at One Roof and Reiki Teachers. James also offers Intuitive Readings, which explore self-awareness and discovery.

Finding Peace Of Mind in Challenging Times

FINDING PEACE OF MIND IN CHALLENGING TIMES

By Pierre Zimmerman, M.S.
In the face of hate, ignorance and cruelty we can build stronger communities of service and compassion with small acts of kindness toward each other, realizing how precious this rare Pierre Zimmerman Director One Big Rooflife of ours is. We can see the gifts and skills of people, rather than their shortcomings; experience more spaciousness in our views of others; let go of solid opinions and sense the inherent goodness that lies at the heart of our diverse circles of being. We can give fearlessness by eliminating our habitual, unwholesome thoughts and planting seeds of kindness, looking upon others with soft eyes and suspending hateful narratives and judgments.
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt about the tragedy of September 11th. He said, “I feel as I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is vengeful, angry and violent. The other is loving, forgiving, compassionate.”
The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?”
Grandfather responded: “The one I feed.”
Wishing you all a New Year filled with peace and loving kindness,  Pierre
A full article by Pierre appears in the January 2016 issue of Natural Awakenings magazine at this link
HTTP://ISSUU.COM/ALBANYAWAKENINGS/DOCS/ALB_0116/1